How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost? (2024)

The average cost of a routine vet checkup can range from $50 to $250, but the total cost varies based on the purpose of the visit.

Sarah Sharkey
Written bySarah Sharkey
Sarah Sharkey
Sarah SharkeyInsurance Writer
  • 7+ years writing insurance and personal finance content

  • Contributor to top media, including USA Today

A passionate personal finance advocate, Sarah’s writing has graced the pages of many of the personal finance and insurance industries’ top web publications.

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Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
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Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

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Updated November 6, 2023 | Reading time: 4 minutes

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When you take your pet to the vet, the final bill might come as a surprise. While the cost of a vet visit varies based on the procedures and services your pet needs, veterinary care costs have increased sharply in recent years.[1]

A big reason for the higher costs is that demand for veterinary care is at an all-time high. Additionally, the costs of running a veterinary practice have risen, partially due to inflationary pressures.[1] In short, pet owners are facing a perfect storm with spiking vet bills as the end result.

Here’s what you should know about the costs you should expect to encounter if your pet needs to go to the veterinarian.

How much does a routine vet visit cost?

In general, dog owners face higher veterinary bills than cat owners. On average, the ASPCA estimates that dog owners pay $225 per year for routine medical costs, which include things like vaccines and wellness visits. In contrast, cat owners pay around $160 for routine medical care.[2]

As a pet owner, where you live can also affect your costs. For example, the estimated cost of an office visit at Banfield Pet Hospital is $78.95 in California, but that estimate drops to $57.95 in Florida.[3]

Costs of common veterinary procedures

Taking your pet to the vet for preventative care can help ensure it avoids health issues for years to come. But preventative care isn’t free. If you choose to invest in your pet’s health, you’ll likely face some or all of the following routine care costs.[4]

Veterinary Procedure or CareAverage Cost for DogsAverage Cost for Cats
Spaying/neutering$50–$500$100–$400
Ear infection care$150$150
Dental extractions$600–$1,500$600–$1,500
Tumor removal$300–$1,600$300–$1,600
Preventive medicine, flea/tick and heartworm$140–$185$140–$185
Heartworm test$35–$75$35–$75
Diarrhea/Intestinal upset$203–$385$203–$385
Microchipping$25–$60$45
Teeth cleaning$300–$500$300–$500

Cost of vaccinations for dogs

Vaccinations can help your pet stay healthy. In many cases, your vet will administer your dog’s vaccines during routine vet visits. The type and number of vaccines your dog needs can have a major effect on your final bill. 

The table below highlights some common vaccinations your dog might receive and their costs.[4]

Vaccine NameCostFrequencyPurpose of Vaccine
Bordetella$30AnnuallyProtects against kennel cough
DHPP$20–$60Every one to three yearsProtects against canine distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, and parainfluenza
Leptospirosis$30AnnuallyProtects against Leptospira bacterial infections, which is common in water and soil
Lyme disease$45AnnuallyProtects against Lyme disease
Rabies$20–$30Every one to three yearsProtects against rabies disease
Influenza$20–$55AnnuallyProtects against the canine flu

Cost of vaccinations for cats

Cat owners can help keep their companions healthy through vaccinations. Keeping your pet’s shots up to date often happens at the annual visit. The following table shows some common vaccinations your cat might need and the associated costs.

Vaccine NameCostFrequencyPurpose of Vaccine
Rabies$20–$30Every one to three yearsProtects against rabies disease
FVRCP$20–$40Every three yearsProtects against three viral infections
Feline leukemia$25–$45AnnuallyProtects against feline leukemia infection
Bordetella$10AnnuallyProtects against kennel cough
Chlamydophila$20AnnuallyProtects against Chlamydophila bacterial infection
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

How much do emergency vet visits cost?

Regular checkups and routine care can help you protect your pet’s health. But even pets with the best care could end up in the emergency room. An emergency vet visit is often significantly more expensive than a routine visit. The exact costs of your emergency room visit will vary based on the treatments your pet needs.[4]

Below is a quick look at some potential medical costs for an emergency visit:

  • An ER exam could cost between $100 and $200.

  • A broken bone could cost $2,371 for dogs and $2,257 for cats.

  • A foreign object in your pet’s stomach could require veterinary care that runs $3,262 for dogs and $2,955 for cats.

  • Blood tests during an emergency vet visit could cost between $80 and $200.

  • An ultrasound at the vet could run between $300 and $600.

  • X-rays at the vet could cost between $150 and $250.[5]

If you have to head to the vet for emergency care, be prepared for a hefty vet bill.

How does pet insurance affect vet costs?

Pet insurance can help you cover the costs of a vet visit. Most pet insurance companies offer three basic types of coverage:

  • Accident and illness coverage: Accident and illness coverage can help you pay for things like broken bones and infections. This type of coverage typically doesn’t include medical expenses for hereditary conditions or routine care.

  • Accident-only coverage: Accident-only coverage is a more narrow form of insurance. It can help you pay for vet visits related to broken bones, cuts, bite wounds, and foreign body ingestion. But it won’t help pay for treating an illness, dental care, or basic vaccines.

  • Wellness coverage: In general, a wellness plan can help you pay for vaccines, preventative medicine, a physical exam, and additional costs for routine care.

Good to Know

If you choose to purchase pet insurance, your insurance company will likely have a reimbursement policy. You’ll typically submit a claim for your vet bill after your vet visit, and if the company approves the claim, you’ll receive the agreed-upon percentage of the vet bill.

Pet insurance can be a good idea for the right household, but it’s important to run the numbers before deciding to move forward.

Factors to consider when buying pet insurance

If you’re interested in purchasing pet insurance, it’s important to consider all the details before signing up for a policy. Below are some factors to keep in mind:

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/fa11c1fe75/comparison-website.svg

    Shopping around

    Every insurance company has a slightly different method of determining premiums. Because of that, shopping around can help you find the best policy.

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    Reimbursements

    Most pet insurance companies cover your vet bills through a reimbursement policy. You’ll need to pay the bill up front. When you submit a claim, you’ll receive a reimbursement for an agreed-upon percentage of the bill.

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    Payout limits

    Some pet insurance policies have annual or lifetime payout limits.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/c822f20cb3/billing-related.svg

    Deductibles

    The deductible is the minimum amount you’ll need to pay for a covered vet visit. Make sure it’s a number you can comfortably afford.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/101x101/88ac443824/dog-collar.svg

    Coverage type

    The type of coverage you purchase will greatly affect what kind of vet bills your policy will cover. Read the fine print to understand what’s covered.

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    Pet age

    Puppies are often cheaper to insure than older pets. However, older pets are more likely to need vet care due to age-related health problems. Weigh the policy costs against the potential veterinary costs.

Vet cost FAQs

Vet costs can be a significant expense for pet owners across the country. With rising costs, it’s natural to have questions. The answers below may help as you decide whether to enroll your pet in a pet insurance plan.

  • How much does a routine vet visit cost?

    On average, pet owners can expect to pay between $50 and $250 for a routine visit. However, the final bill will vary based on the type of care your pet needs.

  • Why do vets charge so much?

    The cost of veterinary care has risen sharply in the last five years. A core reason for higher costs is that veterinary practices are facing inflationary pressure, which means they must charge more for their services. Additionally, the demand for pet care is high, which also pushes costs higher.

  • Do vet offices offer payment plans?

    Some vets offer payment plans to pet owners. If you need a payment plan option, ask your vet to see what’s available.

  • Is pet insurance worth it?

    If you don’t have a robust emergency fund to cover unexpected veterinary care, pet insurance might be worth the price. But even households with savings might benefit from a pet insurance plan. You should consider your pet’s health and your financial situation to determine if the premiums are worth the coverage.

Sources

  1. National Library of Medicine. "Blame the pandemic: Why you need to raise your fees for 2021."
  2. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Cutting Pet Care Costs."
  3. Banfield Pet Hospital. "Price Estimator."
  4. Care Credit. "Average Vet Visit Costs for Pets."
  5. Preventive Vet. "Pet Emergency Statistics and Veterinary Costs."
Sarah Sharkey
Sarah SharkeyInsurance Writer

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys helping people make savvy financial decisions. She covered insurance and personal finance topics. You can find her work on Business Insider, Money Under 30, Rocket Mortgage, Bankrate, and more. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

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